The letter from the war that shattered the peace

A letter written

The man sits at a desk, pencil poised over paper

He squints in the dim light

The bulb overhead swinging from the shocks of the shell explosions overground

Dust falls on his head

In his quarters in the trenches

Dark, damp, stinking, noisy

The orders have arrived: they are going ‘over the top’ tomorrow

Hands shaking, but he must be brave

He must write to tell his wife how much he loves her

The letter will be sent only in the event of his death

These are words he hopes his wife will never have to read



A letter received

The woman sits on a chair, hands gripping the letter

She squints in the bright morning sunlight

Dust dances in the shaft of light overhead

In the peaceful front room of their home

The song of birds in the trees outside

The children playing quietly in the corner

Her husband went over the top

The telegram received weeks ago told her the news she did not want to hear

Hands shaking, she must be brave

This letter contains words of love

But this is the letter she did not want to receive

The letter from the war shattered the peace.


Linking up with Mum Turned Mom with the prompt ‘The Letter’


20 Comments on The letter from the war that shattered the peace

  1. sophieblovett
    November 23, 2014 at 11:44 pm (7 years ago)

    The centenary memorials this year have made me think a lot about the war, but ultimately it comes down to this. Heartbreaking xx

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 24, 2014 at 9:13 am (7 years ago)

      All the memorials and commemoration for the centenary really make sure the war stays in the forefront in our minds – we must never forget xxx

  2. maddy@writingbubble
    November 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm (7 years ago)

    This gave me goosebumps -beautifully written and heartbreaking. I love how you’ve created the two scenes so vividly making the letter writer and receiver seem worlds apart yet bound by such a force of love. Awful to think this was a reality for so many. xxx

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm (7 years ago)

      Thank you. It’s such an awful thought about the people who wrote and received these letters xxx

  3. Mummy Tries
    November 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my word this is heartbreaking! Only sent if they die, I’m welling up here… those poor men must have been absolutely terrified xxx #ThePrompt

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 21, 2014 at 7:19 pm (7 years ago)

      It’s unimaginable. Another reason why we must never forget. Thanks for commenting lovely. Xxx

  4. Louise
    November 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm (7 years ago)

    So beautifully written and so very sad. So many letters written and received with shaking hands. So many lives devastated and destroyed. So important to remember them.

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks Louise. We should never forget the people who wrote and who read such letters xxx

  5. Sara (@mumturnedmom)
    November 21, 2014 at 3:41 pm (7 years ago)

    Beautifully written Leigh, such simple words, conveying so much emotion. So many women must have sat just like this, shattered. Brilliant post. Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt x

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm (7 years ago)

      It’s so sad to think of all those men who would have written those letters, and the women reading them. Thank you Sara xxx

  6. Maria
    November 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm (7 years ago)

    Beautiful and mournful piece. I quite like the juxtaposition between receiving two distinct letters that will be infinitely connected. Thanks for sharing!

  7. thenthefunbegan
    November 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm (7 years ago)

    So sad – we have such a hard time imagining what it must have been like but these thoughts bring it home. Xx

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm (7 years ago)

      It is so sad. There’s been so much discussion about WW1 and the letters sent from the Front came to mind when seeing this week’s prompt. Thanks for commenting xxx

  8. VaiChin
    November 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm (7 years ago)

    That gave me goosebumps. Nothing ever comes out of a war but grief. And yet we persist… #theprompt

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm (7 years ago)

      Isn’t that the truth. We know how devastating war is, and you think we would learn… Thanks for commenting xxx

  9. mummyshambles
    November 21, 2014 at 8:36 am (7 years ago)

    Such a sad post but beautifully written.
    So many woman received these heartbreaking letters.
    Mine’s a WW1 post too. Seemed very apt for this weeks. #ThePrompt X

    • Leigh Kendall
      November 21, 2014 at 10:16 am (7 years ago)

      They did, it’s the first thing that came to mind when seeing this week’s prompt – WW1 is so present at the moment, which is good to make sure we never forget. I’ll be over to check out your post! xxx


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on The letter from the war that shattered the peace

  1. For Your Consideration: Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2015 | Headspace Perspective says:

    […] Again, the form asks for a sample post. My writing is diverse, including poetry and prose, as well as awareness-raising articles. Some posts for your consideration include: For the Babies Who Didn’t Make It Home; The Option for Compassionate End-of-Life Care; Giving My 18 Year Old Self A Good Talking To; Do Good Things Come to Those Who Wait?; A World Gone Up in Smoke; The Letter from the War that Shattered the Peace. […]

  2. […] Some of my favourite posts have come from the Prompt: the poems A World Gone Up in Smoke, and The Letter from the War that Shattered the Peace; and the short story The Second-Hand Bookshop. These have helped demonstrate my diversity as a […]

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